Preachers of Profit
Randy White is the Senior Pastor of Without Walls International, a megachurch in Tampa, Florida. You can read his bio here.
He and his wife were recently pitching Omega XL fatty acids on a 30-minute infomercial. The Great HealthWorks infomercial runs on Christian and mainstream TV stations in up to 150 markets. White receives $5 for every bottle of the $49.95 product sold.
Without Walls International is a church with roughly 25,000 members. White is part of the prosperity gospel movement. The Whites live in a $2.7 million dollar home and they have a Bentley and a Mercedes-Benz in their personal fleet of cars.
In a recent interview, White defended his material success: “What are [Jesus’] principles?” White asked. “If you think Jesus was poor, wants his clergy to be poor and have a vow of poverty, I would debate that.”
Clearly one cannot teach a prosperity gospel without being prosperous. Aside from pitching books and vitamins, what next for these men of God? Perhaps selling timeshares?
Oh, I forgot. Someone else did that.
Haha, he would debate that Jesus was poor? His father being a carpenter must have really generated some wealth!
But really I don’t think that anyone is asking him to take a vow of poverty. Theres a difference between living in poverty and living appropriately. I think he is speaking in extremes to draw peoples attention away from the issue. Is he really unable to live well in a $1.7 million dollar home? Or even a 0.7? (trust me it can be done!)
I recently spoke on the state of the world in a recent series at The Embassy. We talked of our wealth compared to the world. Suffice it to say that whatever you have, if you’re reading this, you’re among the richest people in the world. (want to see how you measure up? Go to the Global Rich List ). I won’t rant anymore on our wealth, since you can listen to the sermon online.
If Jesus was a promoter of the prosperity gospel, he failed miserably. As one preacher puts it, “Jesus was a homeless person who wandered from town-to-town relying on the charity of others for the food he and his followers ate.” No summer home in Rome, no palace in Nazareth. If it weren’t for the charity of one rich follower, he would have been buried in a mass grave with the others that had been crucified. I guess that would not have been nearly as pleasant for the ladies that came to visit later on.
In any respect, anyone preaching a prosperity gospel is not only preaching antithetically to the teachings of Christ (who teaches to be generous and give away, not store up for one-self), but is leading others down the wide path to destruction. It kind of makes me sick to my stomach.
Sven you said it well. I’ve listened to I few radio shows put of by this gentlemen Fran Sankey called “Test a things”, and he runs a website towertotruth.net. I recommend checking it out. Here he speaks of “the word faith movement”, very similar to the idea of the prosperity gospel. When you get a chance check out this audio clip http://www.towertotruth.net/Audiofiles/joel_osteen_full.mp3
He makes a very good argument and some clips of audio from some prosperity speakers incase you don’t believe they would ever say these things.